Ethical Issues Assignment

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Electric shock, Rat Pages: 2 (751 words) Published: February 12, 2013
An ethical issue can be defined as a conflict about whether the potential ethical costs of a study are outweighed by the scientific benefits they may have to society, also known as the cost-benefit analysis. The study needs to be scientifically valid, however the rights of the participant need to be met. Deception is an ethical issue that arises in many studies as participants tend to be deceived in order to obtain more scientifically valid results. Milgram is a great example of this as he used deception more than once to get his results. Participants were told the study was based on memory and that the colleague was a participant. As well as this, they believed that the person was receiving an electric shock. Deception was used during debriefing the individuals, which is a rather rare occurrence, as he told them that they were the only one that showed signs of distress. Rosenhan’s study also contained deception as members of staff were led to believe that they were real patients that were mentally ill. This caused the staff to be distrustful towards real patients which would result in physical harm. Deception occurred within Milgram’s study for valid reasons; one being that Milgram could see how far people would truly go against their own conscience and obey to authority. As for the deception during debriefing, lying to them would make them feel more at ease, reducing their overall psychological harm. With the Rosenhan study, if the members of staff weren’t deceived the validity of the results would be extremely low as the researchers/colleagues wouldn’t be diagnosed at all. Deception had to occur in order to conduct the study otherwise the important results stating that people can be falsely diagnosed easily if they pretend to be mentally ill wouldn’t have been obtained and the changes to society wouldn’t have occurred. Another ethical issue that occurs within various studies is the protection from harm, this being both psychological and physical. Skinners...
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